The Palm of the Paw

Before we boarded the train
Father buried our bobbed tails

And showed us how to pull dogskin
Over our long ears. The countryside

Licked our window like tongues, swollen
With raw honey and beer. At dawn

The conductor brought eReaders
And flowers, tea and hot cross buns.

I still recall the vase of mums, red
As rabbit giggle: grass-stuffed guts.

When we pulled into the station
He reminded me: walk straight, proud,

Bear your fangs, and levitate
At the drop of a top hat.

Peter Jay Shippy is the author of Thieves’ Latin (University of Iowa Press, 2003), Alphaville (BlazeVOX BOOKS, 2006) and How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic (Rose Metal Press, 2007). He has published widely, including The American Poetry Review, The Boston Globe, Iowa Review and Ploughshares. Shippy teaches literature and writing at Emerson College in Boston.